Kenneth Hauge could face up to 10 years in prison for the crime, for which he will be sentenced in May. Hauge was found guilty of taking money from his mother’s bank accounts while she received care at Firesteel Healthcare Community in Mitchell.
Hauge’s 90-year-old mother, Joan, was placed into the care of the Firesteel community in 2017 after falling at her home and being unable to get up, according to court documents. Hauge was named her power of attorney on May 7, 2017, but those rights were later revoked and turned over to a different family member.
But, while Hauge was listed as his mother’s power of attorney, he deposited a $5,500 check from her account to his own. He also cashed a CD in his mother’s name worth $30,359.29 and deposited the money into his bank account.
According to family interviews, the money was meant to be used to pay for Joan’s bills at Firesteel, and while Hauge did pay for $14,025 worth of bills in July 2017, the remaining $16,334.29 could not be accounted for, according to written testimony from a special agent with the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation.
According to court documents, Hauge admitted to he spent his mother’s money on himself and “helped his kids and other individuals out financially.”
He also allegedly admitted to cashing approximately $4,000 in savings bonds that belonged to his mother.
A jury last week found Hauge guilty of grand theft by exploitation exceeding $5,000 but less than $100,000. The maximum sentence for the Class 4 felony could be increased because Hauge is a habitual offender, meaning he has been convicted of at least one prior felony.
While awaiting sentencing, a judge ordered Hauge not have contact with the family member named power of attorney for Joan Hauge.